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China’s power shortage to aggravate in 2004

25 February 2004 – China will continue to face a shortage of electricity supply as the economy keeps on the fast track, the chief supervisor of the power industry said here Tuesday.

Chai Songyue, chairman of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), told a national work meeting on securing electricity production that China would have a shortfall of more than 20 million kilowatts in electricity supply this year.

He said in some areas of the country, the power shortage would be even worse than last year.

Some 22 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities had to cut off electricity at peak times in 2003 as China’s economy galloped ahead at a speed of 9.1 per cent.

In the first two months of the year, a significant number of areas in the country have already been forced to cut power supply though the peak time of electricity consumption is yet to come.

Chai said electricity shortage would be acute in such areas as east and south China. Certain parts of north, northwest and central China would also suffer inadequate power supply.

The problem would be most prominent in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai City in east China this year, Chai said.

In order to guarantee more power supply, China will accelerate construction of new electricity generating plants and power grids.

At the same time, the SERC and government will jointly develop incentive and punitive measures encouraging balanced electricity consumption.

According to the forecast of the China Electricity Industry Association, China’s power generation capacity will grow 9 per cent in 2004, while the consumption of electricity will jump 12 per cent.

The association predicts that in 2005, the electricity shortage will be eased to a certain extent.